Humiliated by Cyprus at the weekend, the Republic returned to Dublin and put in a much-improved performance against a Czech Republic side that went into the game with four wins in four in Group D.
Kevin Kilbane put the Irish 1-0 up in the 62nd minute but the lead only lasted for 90 minutes with Jan Koller hitting back immediately.
Skipper Robbie then had a dramatic final chance to clinch the win two minutes from time but guided Damien Duff's cross wide of the target.
Elsewhere, Dimitar Berbatov was involved in the move that lead to Aleksander Tunchev scoring the only goal of the game as Bulgaria beat Luxembourg 1-0 in Group G. Dimitar played the full 90 minutes.
Goalkeeper Marton Fulop remained on the bench again as Hungary suffered a 2-1 defeat against Malta in Group C.
It was a case of so near, yet so far for Robbie Keane as the Republic of Ireland restored some pride with a fine draw against the Czech Republic on Wednesday night.